Planning an organic vegetable garden is a process that take lots of care. First, you have to make sure your soil has enough nutrients to promote plant health. Next, you have to plan your watering cycle. All of this and more is important during the initial planting. However, an important note to remember is to put as much care into the harvesting process as you can.
Here is a guide compiled by the experts at Cornell University to help you learn all you need to know about a fall harvest of each vegetable.
When to harvest
There is no set timetable to harvest crops. Each vegetable has its perfect time. The harvesting window may be affected by weather and soil conditions, so that is something else to keep in consideration.
Feel the skin to determine ripeness. All types of squash, including the winter varieties, should have a firm pressure. When the crop is ready it will be hard and unable to scratch. They should be harvested before the first frost, and can be cut with a sharp knife or scissors. Take out the stem to slow down the decay process.
This type of root vegetable should be collected two weeks after blooming. However, the main crop can be harvested when the ground is dry. Don’t use sharp tools to burrow down to reach the potatoes, because this can cause bruising.
Greens are also gathered in the fall. Be sure they are the right size. Also, you can leave a bit of the crop behind to encourage re-growth during spring.
Radishes are root vegetables that also are harvested during the colder temperatures. Since the plant grows beneath the ground, they aren’t prey to the harsh weather conditions of the season.
Also, plant healthy items for soups and stews. Eggplant has a variety of applications and can be harvested through October. Look for fruit that is almost fully grown with a bright and shiny coat. You will know when the plant turns dull because they will look brown and not as bright.
Turnips are a great fall crop because they are forgiving. The sturdy vegetable can withstand some freezing temperatures and the frost even improves on the flavor. However, don’t go too long before a harvest, since the stems can become woody.